Publication Date



cancer, incidence, mortality, Midwest


Background: Breast, colorectal and lung cancers have been shown to be the most common cancers as well as the leading causes of cancer death among women. Previous studies suggest that the Northeast had significantly higher rates in incidence and mortality than the Midwest, South and Western regions. However, new data indicates that the Midwest now harbors the highest mortality rates. In Wisconsin, the sixth largest state in the Midwest, cancer is the leading cause of death. Differences in incidence and mortality of breast, colorectal and lung cancers have been observed between Wisconsin, other Midwestern states and national data, warranting further investigation.

Purpose: To examine the incidence and mortality of Wisconsin females across breast, colorectal and lung cancers compared to that of the national average along with the individual states that comprise the Midwest (ND, SD, NE, KS, MN, IA, MO, IL, IN, OH and MI).

Methods: Female incidence and mortality rates were retrieved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Program of Cancer registries for the 2011 year, while census data was retrieved from the U.S. Census Bureau for the nation, region and individual states. Data was analyzed using two-sample z-test for proportions with significance set at P < 0.05.

Results: Compared to the national incidence of breast cancer (122 per 100,000), Wisconsin women had a significantly higher incidence (P < 0.05). Within the Midwest, Wisconsin had a higher incidence than Indiana (P < 0.0005) as well as higher mortality than Nebraska (P < 0.05). However, Wisconsin had lower incidence of breast cancer than Minnesota and Ohio (P < 0.01) and lower mortality than Ohio (P < 0.05). Wisconsin had both lower incidence and mortality than Illinois, Indiana, Iowa and Nebraska (P < 0.05) for colorectal cancer. For lung cancer, Wisconsin had a higher incidence and mortality than Minnesota and Nebraska (P < 0.005) and lower incidence than Indiana, Michigan and Missouri (P < 0.05). No significant differences were noted between Wisconsin and other Midwestern states.

Conclusion: Though variations exist between Wisconsin and other Midwestern states in incidence and mortality, there are no consistent trends between these states and the three most common cancers. As a whole, however, the Midwest had statistically higher incidence and mortality rates than the nation. Further investigations into the regional differences between Wisconsin, the Midwest, and other states with similar demographic composition will be explored.




November 10th, 2015


November 18th, 2015


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